One June 26th I saw the headline: Killcage ta worda eliminate & Dog Act Shelter Ta Worda Crea. The FB article of Gabinete Wever-Croes enjoyed 28 shares, 26 comments and 189 likes and loves.
The public ate it up.
But before hiring the band and the dancing girls I decided to talk to the stakeholders in the unwanted animal arena, the Health Department, the Veterinary Services and the Aruba Animal Shelter.
Yes, they all said, we read about it in the newspaper.
So the jubilation was premature. But, good news nevertheless, a National Plan was hatched to eliminate the kill cage, the place where locals deposit their unwanted animals to be euthanized.
But it is not happening yet, for a plan like that to become a reality you need all hands on deck, from the very start. And the MinHealth was so far unable to meet his people for a pow-pow. Too busy.
I looked at the National Plan van Aanpak, the plan of attack, and asked where are the CATS?
Because cats are nocturnal, we don’t see them much, but we have a cat population-explosion, running parallel to the dog challenge.
With all efforts made in the past, and all diligent NGOs, we still did not manage to teach the locals to spay/neuter their animals. And that is the crux of the matter.
But the Plan of Attack contains excellent initiatives, besides the reduction of our street dog population, and the promotion of responsible ownership, it also aims at preventing illegal trade, read breeding, and importation of dogs.
One of the initiatives calls for Police involvement, enforcing the “Dog Law,” a flawed, but nevertheless helpful piece of legislation. Another speaks of registration and ID requirement, which I am all for, every owned-dog should wear a tag, his/her owner paid for.
Most importantly the plan has an educational component, calling for lectures at schools.
And GOA will take on more employees for the Animal Control Department, as Animal Control Officers.
But let’s get back to earth.
The tiny space we call the Kill Cage, cannot be transformed overnight into a holding facility where animals will be kept 10 days, until their fate is decided.
The space cannot turn into a DOG ACT SHELTER, without a serious investment. Ridiculous.
Until we educate all those who have no heart and no brain, we must operate an unwanted animal dumping facility otherwise puppies will be left to die in the heat, in the wilderness.
Please don’t come out slugging with catchy headlines: Ban serio. Get all stakeholders on board, perhaps the MinHealth could finally talk to him people, then start getting all involved.